Once Hermès lovers have made the difficult decision and chosen between the Kelly and Birkin (read my article on this hot debate), those who opted for the Kelly bag have another arduous choice on their hands – Retourne or Sellier?
Both are of course gorgeous styles of Hermès’ famous Kelly bag.
But there are key differences between the two which makes deciding between them seem like an almost impossible task for many fans of the bag.
In this post, I’m going to explore the Hermès Kelly Retourne vs. Sellier debate by comparing my Kelly 25s in each style. This will allow for a clear comparison and hopefully shed some light on this prominent Hermès conundrum.
My Kelly 25 Retourne is one of the most recent additions to my Hermès collection and is in fact the only Kelly Retourne I own. The bag is in the colour Capucine (a beautiful coral red shade) with Swift leather and gold hardware. I’ve had my Kelly 25 Sellier a little longer and it’s in the colour Bleu Brume with Epsom leather and gold hardware (I’ve written a full blog post about this beauty so be sure to check it out).
The Hermès Kelly has been a luxury staple and the epitome of sophisticated style for many decades now.
Over the years, far from the Kelly bag fading into obsoleteness, the style has only become more sought-after. The Retourne and Sellier styles of the famous bag have a very similar design but each has a noticeably different finish and overall look.
The Sellier’s stitching points outwards and the style is more structured.
Retourne means “reversed” and this is quite literally true for the style
Retourne Kellys are constructed inside out so the stitching points inwards, making the bag’s edges and corners more rounded. Despite this, both the Retourne and Sellier styles of the Kelly have an overall structured finish.
ABOUT THE KELLY 25 RETOURNE
I’ve only owned my Kelly Retourne for a few months but I’m already loving the relaxed style of the bag. Its less structured finish means it’s easier to open, making my belongings more accessible when carrying them in this style. The rounded corners and edges are better for general wear and tear and the Retourne’s relaxed finish makes it sit more comfortably across the body when wearing my Kelly crossbody. Retourne Kellys are often made using softer Hermès leathers, such as the Swift leather my bag is crafted from.
- Less structured finish than the Sellier model
- Stitching pointing inwards
- Rounded edges and corners (similar to the Birkin)
- Visible piping along the edges and corners (similar to the Birkin)
- Holds slightly more inside
- Seen as the more laid-back of the two Kelly styles
After all, the first Kelly bag Princess Grace Kelly owned was the Retourne style she famously carried to conceal her pregnancy from the paparazzi in the ‘50s. For me, the Retourne Kelly is an integral part of the Kelly bag’s history so is a must-have for any fan of the bag and certainly for any avid Hermès collector.
Shop the Hermès Kelly Retourne
ABOUT THE KELLY 25 SELLIER
I wear my Kelly Sellier bags, particularly my 25, for all occasions.
The structured finish suits the Kelly’s sleek and elegant design perfectly and I love how the boxy finish looks as a crossbody. While the Retourne style is slightly more comfortable worn against the body, the difference doesn’t bother me much and is less of an issue for the smaller 25 size. Although it’s true that the Retourne version holds slightly more, the difference is fairly inconsequential. Sellier Kellys are often crafted from more rigid Hermès leathers, like the Epsom leather my Bleu Brume Kelly 25 is made from.
- More structured finish than the Retourne model
- Stitching pointing outwards
- Sharper and sleeker edges and corners
- Holds slightly less inside due to rigid structure
- Seen as the more formal of the two Kelly styles
Many Kelly lovers believe that the Sellier’s boxy finish makes the style strictly suited to formal occasions but I disagree. While I do feel the ultra structured style gives the Sellier model an elegant and formal look, I think the structured design is actually incredibly versatile.
Shop the Hermès Kelly Sellier
It’s also true that Sellier styles are more expensive than their Retourne counterparts. However, this is certainly not by a lot and when you consider the thousands that either Kelly style will set you back, the difference is pretty small. It hasn’t affected my past purchasing decisions when buying a Kelly bag.
If you’ve read my other articles about my Hermès collection (and if you haven’t, go give them a read now), you can probably tell from the ratio of Sellier to Retourne Kellys (I have one Retourne style and several Selliers) that the ultra structured Sellier style is my favourite. I particularly love the boxy design in the small 25 size and I think that it’s the perfect versatile and compact bag. Can I see myself buying another Retourne Kelly in the future? Most definitely.
But, if there’s only one gold medal to give, it has to go to the Sellier style.
Which do you prefer – the Retourne or Sellier?